Emily Filler an organizer of the Living Wage Campaign of the University of Virginia (U.Va.) says after 14 years of taking all measures to gain a 'living wage' for university employees, they were getting to no where.
In an interview with Press TV's U.S. Desk on Saturday, she said that hundreds of University of Virginia's employees still make wages that they cannot live on.
“For 14 years, we’ve had marches, and rallies and petitions, and public resolutions and faculty support and student support and many, many, many meetings with administrator including two with president Sullivan (U.Va. president) herself. And still, after 14 years, there is no 'living wage' policy for U.Va. employees. So, many hundreds of U.Va. employees still make wages on which they absolutely can’t line and support their families well.”
She said that the Campaign decided to show that it was serious and thus a hunger strike was organized.
The Living Wage Campaign of U.Va. began a hunger strike on Feb. 18th to urge U.Va to enact a living wage policy. For 14 years, the Living Wage Campaign and its allies have urged U.Va. to pay their employees enough to meet the basic cost of living in Charlottesville. Despite years of pressure, dialogue, and other efforts, no progress has been made.
On February 8th, the Campaign submitted a list of demands to the administration along with a supportive faculty petition with over 325 signatures, requesting that the administration explicitly address the Campaign’s demands by Feb. 17th.
Because all other avenues have failed, the Campaign has committed to a Hunger Strike in order to urge U.Va. to adopt a living wage of $13.00/hr indexed to inflation for all U.Va. employees, including contracted employees. The full demands of the campaign are attached and available online.
At least 12 students will maintain their fast until the administration agrees to these demands. The Campaign will picket a public area between the Rotunda and the U.Va. Chapel as long as the strike continues. As well as maintaining a constant public presence, the Campaign will sponsor daily events including a rally and march at 12PM, a sunset vigil at 6PM and teach-in workshops from 7-8:30PM. The full schedule is available online at www.livingwageatuva.org.